Daily brief: Rockets strike Pakistani military academy
Editor’s note: Today will be my last day writing the AfPak Channel Daily Brief. Starting next week, my colleague Jennifer Rowland will be writing it full time. Thank you for reading! — Andrew Lebovich Safe haven? Unidentified militants fired at least nine rockets at Pakistan’s elite military academy in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Friday, causing damage but ...
Editor's note: Today will be my last day writing the AfPak Channel Daily Brief. Starting next week, my colleague Jennifer Rowland will be writing it full time. Thank you for reading! -- Andrew Lebovich
Editor’s note: Today will be my last day writing the AfPak Channel Daily Brief. Starting next week, my colleague Jennifer Rowland will be writing it full time. Thank you for reading! — Andrew Lebovich
Unidentified militants fired at least nine rockets at Pakistan’s elite military academy in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Friday, causing damage but no casualties (NYT, AP, BBC, AFP). Abbottabad, the city where Osama bin Laden was found and killed in May, is also the hometown of a senior al-Qaeda operations official, Aslam Awan, who was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike on January 10. Elsewhere, at least six Pakistanis were shot dead by Iranian security forces while transporting livestock into Iran Thursday (ET,BBC). And Pakistani forces in Kurram have reportedly killed seven militants, while in Balochistan militants killed two Pakistani soldiers Friday (Dawn).
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani dismissed talk of a coup in the country in an interview Thursday, while the parliamentary committee investigating the "Memogate" affair has given Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz until February 10 to come to Pakistan to provide his side of the story (Dawn, ET, DT). And a former media coordinator for Gilani, Mian Khurram Rasool, has been sentenced to four years in prison for skipping out on a bank fraud case (Dawn, ET).
Pakistani officials have said that they will not give up on a major pipeline planned with Iran, despite facing possible American sanctions (ET, Dawn). The BBC’s Shahzeb Jillani, meanwhile, looks at Pakistan’s bleak economic future (BBC). A major Pakistani education report has found that a majority of students cannot read Urdu, English, or their native language after finishing primary levels of schooling (Dawn). And a parliamentary committee has proposed that no one be allowed to speak in a negative way about Pakistan on private television channels (Dawn).
The Telegraph reports Thursday that a group of Taliban "diplomats," including Mullah Omar’s former secretary Tayyeb Agha, has traveled to Qatar to set up a Taliban political office and possibly begin negotiations with the United States (Tel). A former Taliban member of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s High Peace Council, Maulvi Arsala Rahmani, told Reuters Friday that the Taliban were willing to moderate their past positions and return to Afghanistan’s government "as Afghans" (Reuters).
France signed a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan Thursday, promising to train Afghan forces long after the 2014 withdrawal deadline for international combat troops (Post, Reuters). And Italy on Thursday agreed to provide Afghanistan with long-term aid after 2014 (AP).
Clerical errors have reportedly allowed a 17-year-old British soldier to go to the front lines in Helmand province, despite army rules that forbid soldiers to see combat before they are 18 (BBC). And a former Green Beret imprisoned for three years in Afghanistan for running a private jail and torturing detainees, Jack Idema, has died in Mexico of AIDS (AP, LAT).
A backlash is brewing in Pakistan against a television show where a group of women surprise young couples in public, pestering them to explain themselves and demanding to see certificates of marriage (NYT). The women have been referred to mockingly as "vigil-aunties."
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